How to start a Dance Company / Dance Crew

Five easy ways to start your Dance Company/Crew

By: Morgan Weske

First off, I’m not a professional at starting dance companies, but I do have some experience. As being a dance contractor for different dance companies and schools here in Chattanooga I have learned how to market and promote growth for my business. As well as, my friend and I have recently started a dance ministry here in Chattanooga and is progressing very well.

1)  You & Your Passion Like all good businesses it starts off with a simple passion/ desire for doing something you love. So, yes, it starts off with just you. If you don’t have teaching, leading, or choreographing skills than it’s best to start off somewhere (in a small local studio) where you can get experience. Like most artists, spending lots of time in the studio is crucial: preparing lesson plans, choreographing dances, and perfecting your technique. Then, start sharing with the community who you are as a local artist: videoing dances, attend dance clinics, teach private lessons, perform at festivals, perform at churches, perform any where you can. Exposing yourself to the community will get more people excited about what you do, and will possibly want to join you in your developing company.

2)  Developing Company Getting Exposed My friend Ariel said, “Once you start performing people will see you and want to join you.” Ariel and his wife started Relentless, a well known performance art ministry in Knoxville. He said they started off as a small crew, and when they started performing others joined. Once others are slowly joining your company it is good to have a routinely practice at least once a week when you all can get together and work on up coming performances. First, find a studio that will allow you to practice there, if not churches provide good space. Than, you and your small company should start performing at every free event you can find such as: art shows, venues, parks, talent shows, competitions, etc.

3)  First Performance After performing at every free event you’ll have people intrigued to watch you dance (fans). Then for sure you have people willing to pay money to see the company. Start planning the first official upcoming performance. (Don’t go over the board with details, stay simple) Like most businesses, they start off small and grow from there. Most likely, hold the performance at where the company practices at, if there’s room for an audience. If there’s not enough room perform in a church (always free). Stay simple, go with what you have. Start off with an introduction about the company and perform the dances you all have been working on. Having different people over directing, sound, lights, music, costumes, and other creativity will be a lot smoother than having one person do it all. Remember you are trying to build fans… so, keep the tickets relatively cheap! Or, don’t charge for tickets and accept donations only.

4)  Including Your Fans Getting your fans involved is very important. Social Media helps the most here. Start a You Tube account and Face Book account to include the community on all your videos and upcoming performances. It might seem like a lot at once, but just start with one account at a time. Later, build your website and create business cards. Charity events really include the community as well, such as dance work shops for: inner city kids, orphanages, hospital patients, etc. Also, do fund raisers for local charities.

5)  Staying Successful Lastly, goals and dreams are reachable, however, not if they are money oriented. Depending on how large the company grows, you might not make a career of it. If lucky enough, you might make enough steady income for you and the instructors. Most well known dance companies pay their dancers, and if you do make that much than I insist you do pay them. Because if you think about it your dancers have a very occupied life as well with school and work. Paying your dancers offer you more reliable dancers! They will take the company more seriously and tend to be apart of the company much longer than non-paid dancers.


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